Sent Lucia has been changing recently and the changes are certainly positive for foreign investors. The islanders are not satisfied with the amount of money that tourists bring any longer and they want to diversify their economy and develop the manufacturing sector in particular. Below please find some information that may be of interest to you if you are planning to invest in an offshore jurisdiction.
Registering a company in St Lucia: What are the main advantages?
Over recent years, St Lucia has become one of the most promising Caribbean countries as far as economic development is concerned. The local Government has implemented several programs that offer serious incentives to foreign investors. The main advantages that St Lucia offers include the following ones:
- St Lucia’s geographical position. Located in the Caribbean Sea, St Lucia gives easy access to North, Central, and South America. This can be an important factor for anyone planning to conduct business operations in the region.
- An attractive business climate. Foreign investors can easily open and manage their companies on the island. The Government welcomes foreign investors and offers various incentives to them.
- Good infrastructure. Different transportation facilities are readily available in St Lucia and the infrastructure is fairly well developed. Solving various logistic issues is simple on the island.
- Economic stability. The economic situation has been stable in St Lucia: the country’s economy is growing. In addition, the official language of the country is English, which can be an important advantage too.
- Tax incentives. Taxes on profits, incomes, and investments are low in St Lucia. If you are looking to reduce your tax burden, the country should be one of the options to consider.
Additional advantages that St Lucia offers to foreign investors:
- St Lucia has a reputation of a well-regulated and transparent jurisdiction. It is not considered a tax haven and it is not found on any black lists of countries.
- The measures against fraud and money laundering taken in St Lucia are strict and efficient.
- There are no restrictions as to the nationality of the company owner in St Lucia. A foreigner can own 100% of the company shares on the island.
- Income derived from foreign countries is not taxed in St Lucia. Please also note that IBCs in St Lucia also do not have to pay stamp duties nor capital gains taxes.
- Several financial incentives are available to foreign investors in St Lucia. For example, they can repatriate their capitals from St Lucia without any restrictions.
How to open a company in St Lucia
First of all, you have to prepare the set of application documents if you would like to register a company in St Lucia. The following documents need to be submitted:
- Application form for company registration;
- Company founder’s passport copy;
- Proof of residential address for the company founder;
- Memorandum and Articles of Association, company By-laws;
- Proof of legality of the investment capital;
- Personal data for all company founders and directors.
When you have to application documents at hand, you need to take the following steps to register a company in St Lucia:
- Decide what form of ownership your company is going to have.
- Choose the company name. The name has to indicate the company ownership form (it has to end in ‘Ltd’, ‘Inc.’, etc.).
- File the application to the Company Register in St Lucia.
- Open a bank account for your company in St Lucia.
Depending on the types of business activities that your company is going to be engaged in, some additional permits and licenses may be required. The procedure of setting up an offshore company in St Lucia is not overly complicated but you will benefit from professional advice anyway. International Wealth experts can tell you more about the issue because St Lucia is not the only choice that you have if you are deliberating opening an offshore company.
Registering an IBC in St Lucia
An International Business Company (IBC) registered in St Lucia can do business globally. A foreign national can be the full owner of a St Lucian-based IBC. One company founder is enough and it can be an individual or a corporate entity from any country. General Meetings can be held anywhere in the world.
The company Register is not publicly available in St Lucia but the Registrar is going to know the company owner’s name. Even though there are no requirements as to the registered capital, most foreign entrepreneurs registering IBCs in St Lucia register US$ 50,000.
An IBC will suit your purposes perfectly well if you are planning to establish one of the following business instruments:
- A holding company to hold that property belonging to other companies. If you reinvest the dividends obtained from the subsidiaries, no taxes are payable.
- An investment company.
- An import/ export company.
- A service company.
- A holding company to hold intellectual property.
- A financial company.
Business in St Lucia: the most promising areas
The country has reformed its economic structure. St Lucia is popular with foreign investors putting money in different projects from elite real estate to renewable energy sources to smart manufacturing. The favorable business climate and the developing economy contribute to the growth of transnational corporations in St Lucia as well as medium- and small-size businesses.
St Lucia is a highly popular tourist destination and there is certainly space for improvement in the country’s tourist sector. Real estate and logistics are two more areas that you may consider for investments. Besides, the country administers a citizenship-by-investment program and many foreigners buy property in the country to qualify for its citizenship. This also can be an attractive business opportunity to explore.
In an attempt to increase the level of production and enlarge exports, the Government of the island has introduced serious tax incentives for manufacturing enterprises. If the authorities approve of your business project, you can qualify for a tax holiday for up to 15 years depending on the value of the goods that you put out. In addition to that, you will have to pay no import duties on the raw materials, production machinery, component parts, and equipment that you bring to the country. Please note that the customs duties on imported goods are high in St Lucia.
In addition to the factors mentioned above, you should expect to find qualified personnel in St Lucia. The level of education has recently risen considerably in the country.
To conclude, St Lucia is open to foreign investors. The business potential of the jurisdiction is growing but the competition is not too tough as of today. Investing in St Lucia can be a good way of diversifying your assets.